Pastor Greg and family on
the jumbotron at Busch Stadium as he waits to throw out the first pitch.
I did some counting and, over the course of 9 years of being in ministry with you, I have sent out 462 weekly emails! No wonder the keyboard looks a bit worn.
As I thought about what to write in this my 463rd, one word comes immediately to mind: GRATEFUL.
…for people who show me the face of Christ. We have a surprisingly diverse congregation that boldly welcomes through our doors all folks, no strings attached. At the same time, these active “MUMC-ites” go out those doors to meet real human needs in the world. Your openness, love, and hospitality have inspired me, and always will.
…for staff I work with who are talented, committed to Christ, and are family. Our staff is amazing in so many ways, and we are blessed by their diversity of talent and their unity in Christ. I will be leaving not just co-workers but brothers and sisters. It’s never easy leaving family.
…for generosity. It’s absolutely incredible to see how people pour themselves into the life of Christ around here. Certainly there’s the generosity of money, how we’ve had special stewardship drives that have enabled us to do so many things, from an upgraded organ and a full-time modern worship director to a brand new YOUTH CENTER. But there’s also the generosity of time and talents. People committing, without reservation, to incredible mission and faith formation programs.
…for amazing worship. It’s difficult for preachers to worship because we’re always involved in worship. However, the commitment and quality of those involved in regular and special services have brought about opportunities to connect to God and one another in unforgettable ways. Christmas Eve and Easter activities/services here, especially, are about as close to heaven as I can get in this lifetime. Also, special worship occasions, in light of social events/issues, have served to deepen faith and open eyes.
…for attempting new things. Talk about a forward-thinking church! The list of new things we’ve attempted is too long to include here. It ranges from Shared Streets and a Leadership Board structure to livestreaming and an interactive web/social media presence. Many of the things we attempted succeeded, some didn’t, but regardless we launched out in faith, learned from experiences, and are now dreaming of what might be around the corner.
…for forgiveness. We are such an amazingly grace-filled group of believers! As we’ve grown together, we’ve also grown together in love. That love has been expressed in empathy, compassion, and forgiveness. I’m deeply appreciative of how you’ve extended me such grace. Father Henri Nouwen, in Bread for the Journey, said that the key to Christian community is to “forgive one another for not being God!” That’s an acquired Christian virtue, and one you’ve generously extended to me!
Thank you again for being such a wonderful, amazing church home for my family and me. We’ll look forward to being with you this Sunday!
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Report from Busch Stadium
Last Wednesday, June 19th, at Busch Stadium was overwhelming. Throwing out the first pitch, being on the field with my family, and enjoying the company of 300+ church folks—it just doesn’t get any better than that! Both my family and I are so thankful to Manchester UMC for such a thoughtful, unforgettable warmup to retirement event!
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June 30: The Christian Life and Transitions (Luke 9:57-62). In my final sermon at MUMC, I’ll look back over our years together and celebrate where we’ve seen the unmistakable signs of the Holy Spirit moving in our midst. In the process, I’ll lift up how truly unique our congregation is, and how very bright our future!